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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Galleries >> Gallery Eight: Light and shadow shape meaning > Mural, Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley Junction, California, 2007
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Mural, Amargosa Opera House, Death Valley Junction, California, 2007

Located in Death Valley Junction's Amargosa Hotel, just outside of the National Park, this opera house was created by Marta Becket in the 1960s. She still performs weekly in this isolated hall, formerly a borax plant infirmary. A caretaker opened the opera house for us, which gave me a chance to photograph the murals that Becket painted on its walls. This mural is at the back of the auditorium, creating an illusory balcony filled with a 17th century audience. I built this image around a single face, caught in the glow of ceiling light. Using ISO 800, I made this image hand held at 1/8th of a second, bracing the camera on the back of a seat. This painted figure, seated high in the corner of the painted balcony, would be the most distant member of the audience yet because of the interplay of light and shadow here, Ive made him the most important.

Leica V-Lux 1
1/8s f/3.2 at 20.1mm iso800 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Phil Douglis04-Apr-2007 07:19
You say it perfectly, Iris. I am sure Marta would feel likewise if she ever came to this image. Theatre is illusion. Painting is illusion. And photography is illusion as well. It was an honor for us to express ourselves about her art and vision and unique contribution to the cultural history of Death Valley.
Iris Maybloom (irislm)04-Apr-2007 00:59
Talk about incongruity....Marta Becket, a dancer, a New Yorker who danced the New York stage, an artist, a muralist who relocated to the desolate, remote, God forsaken (if you will)area know as Death Valley Junction (emphasis on Death!). How much more incongruous can we get? On top of all opera house, an opera house with a permanent audience painted by Marta. She brought culture to an area devoid of it. She speaks to me of passion, of vision, of determination. I will never know her personally, but I will know her through images like these.
Tim May03-Mar-2007 19:08
I wonder about what Marta Becket is like. It seems to me to say something about her that she has filled her opera house with such a grand audience perhaps to compensate for the mundane folk who might be actually sitting in the seats. Or, it might mean that the wants to be reminded of the history of her dance art. That she dances through the centuries.
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